“ Address: 11 Nicholson Road / Heeley / Sheffield S8 9SU / England „
Playtime soft play centre in Sheffield is great fun. A converted school packed to the rafters with soft play equipment, a small café and seating area for parent's.
This is a very clean area which is great to see with all the mess children can make.
The play area is a huge three story structure with lots of different parts for varied play. On the bottom level there is a tots area for under three's that has soft shapes and a ball pool. Behind this through hoop like holes in strong netting is a very big and very deep ball pool, a challenge for any under 5 years but still fun to attempt (not suitable for under or small three year olds unless with an adult) my little boy loved it but was instantly lost if you let him go. Into the ball pool from the second level is a very severe slide that is not safe for small children. The second level is a bit tricky to get to and gives a real work out whilst trying, through narrow gaps that you have to twist and climb through at the same time lead to another assortment of activities, a swing ball on a runner, a bouncy castle, a suspended ball pool and all sorts of things to tackle. Leading to the third floor is a very tricky staggered net that takes a lot of energy to climb up. The top floor is very high and right up to the ceiling with tunnels that are only lit at certain points giving dark area's of mystery. Also on this level they have huge balls to play many games on, then the ultimate feature a spiral slide all the way down the three floors to the bottom (it has four twists to it for extra excitement).
The admission cost is £2 per child for 2 hours play. The food and drink available are very reasonably priced that I remember yet simple. The seating area is nice and clean and cleared often so no mess is left by others. I have only been in the day during school hours and at these times you are welcome to bring you own packed lunch which is useful at keeping cost down.
The play centre is closed on Tuesdays and Fridays , then open 9 am for younger children till 3pm the rest of the week . If they have a private party and then till 6.30 PM if they don't. The weekends are also reserved for private party's only as well. There is a fair amount of parking too.
The down sides to this play centre don't out way the good points but are worth considering. For a start for younger children (under 3 unless they are very tall and strong) to enjoy the full array of activities they need adult help in most parts, this would be ok but access to those parts is hard work for a fit and healthy person so are a real struggle for the rest of us. You need to be fairly thin to get up to the second floor with any ease and if you are much over weight you wouldn't get up, this is a problem if you need to get to your child. Also the slide into the ball pool is almost vertical at the top and so going down runs a high risk of banging your head if you are small (I saw two children do this, one got the hang but the first didn't go on again). Also it is hard to get to without a car, the roads around it are very steep, from one side it is actually the steepest hill in Sheffield.
Playtime is a playcentre which has taken up conversion residence in an old church, which should be perfect, though in this instance it was a small local church, so the floorspace is limited which called for a little ingenuity in design and they did a good job. The play area is over 3 floors, though that presents a new challenge, you need to be able to climb to take full advantage of the facilities, so it isn't perfect for toddlers.
There's a cut off age of 7 though which means it's very child friendly. Your toddlers won't be mown down by giddy pre-teens bent on destruction.
There's a seating area with those white plastic garden chairs and tables and a little counter where the chap in charge will serve tea, coffee and juice, heat milk and baby food and cook meals.
There are party opportunities which brings me to the next point, it used to be open Monday to Friday for the public but weekends were for parties only. Now it's closed Tuesdays, Fridays and weekends and might be closed from 3pm the other days if there is a private party booked. £2.00 each child during school hours, slightly more after that I beleive but we are never there by then.
So it's no longer a nice possibility for weekdays and it was never possible for weekends, which half defeats the purpose in my view.
Our twins second birthday party last year at Playtime, a huge success, great venue, very relaxed and chilled out but the catering was very average 1970's cold buffet stuff and there was no catering for adults, so we'd covered the cost of extra food so everyone could eat together. A big thumbs up otherwise !
It's the cleanest play centre I've ever seen, rumour has it that the owner has an OCD for cleanliness and frankly that's a good thing in this business. It is especially clean.
Playtime is not easy to find, so much so that 2 guests didn't turn up as they couldn't find it and one almost gave up but did find it in the end.
Signposting might be a big help.
Not great for teeny tinies but the staff don't mind you getting in to assist. It's a hell of a workout even for adults.
I'd say if you have toddlers under 2 or toddlers older who are not proficient climbers, this is probably not not the best place, there are no easy routes to get up the 3 floors. It takes me nearly five minutes to get up there as you have to get into some interesting contorted positions to get up the spaces designed for kids.